Justice For Gilmore Girls' Lane Kim
Where she leads, I will follow.
Fall is the season for pumpkin spice, crunchy leaves, and revisiting Stars Hollow. While the series may have ended in 2007, the Gilmore Girls fandom has never truly gone out of style. Viewers today are still debating which of Rory’s ex-boyfriends were the best and comparing other TV couples to what Lorelai and Luke had. Watching Gilmore Girls as an adult, something that I can’t seem to shake is that the show really did Lane Kim, Rory’s Stars Hollow BFF, so dirty.
Played by Keiko Agena, Lane is most known for her love of rock ‘n’ roll, and defying her mother’s wishes that she marry a nice Korean doctor. Since her mother is so strict, she’s forced to come up with genius plans to avoid getting into trouble, such as hiding CDs in baseboards and plotting secret dates with her crushes.
After all these years, fans’ love for Lane is strong, especially on TikTok, where “justice for Lane” videos point out every wrong thing the series did to her. TikToker @kierralovestv perfectly sums it up by saying that Lane went from “doing her music thing” to just becoming a mini version of her mom in the revival.
She’s a quintessential “didn’t deserve their fate” character, especially since there was so much potential for Lane to become the coolest character on Gilmore Girls. She was a drummer in her own indie band with the best boyfriend in the entire series, Dave Rygalski. (Sorry team Jess and Logan fans.) Unfortunately, The O.C. (more on that later) and some bad writing gave Lane a less-than-stellar ending to the series, and it’s time to address a few wrongs.
Lane’s Pregnancy Storyline Made No Sense
For those who refuse to watch the Gilmore Girls’ reboot, A Year in the Life — the last time we see Lane, she’s still married to her bandmate Zack Van Gerbig and living in Stars Hollow with two twin boys. Lane was destined to be in a touring rock band, but it all came crashing down the minute she got pregnant after having terrible sex for the first time on her honeymoon. She even says she “barely got the chance to be a person.” Ouch! As TikToker @emamma_mia put it, seeing Lane married and pregnant with two kids at 22 “made no sense.” Of course, settling down and having a family is a success and accomplishment, but did she really have to get pregnant right away? And did it have to be from terrible first-time sex?
It almost hurts your heart seeing Lane go to Rory to commiserate with her bestie, thinking that sex is secretly terrible and everyone’s been overhyping it, only for her to get pregnant. Hopefully, Lane and Zack were able to make it work, but you can tell the show was written for the pro-abstinence culture of the early 2000s. But sex was never portrayed well on Gilmore Girls, with Lane’s unfortunate first time, Lorelai’s teen pregnancy, Paris thinking she didn’t get into Harvard because of it, and Rory having sex with her married ex-boyfriend for her first time.
Lane Should’ve Ended Up With Dave
In a way, you can blame Dave Rygalski for all of this. Dave, played by Adam Brody, was a dream boyfriend. He was smart, played the guitar, and shared the same interests as Lane. Dave was willing to do whatever it took to secretly date her, like playing hymns all night on the guitar at Mrs. Kim’s Thanksgiving dinner. If Brody hadn’t left Gilmore Girls to star as Seth Cohen on The O.C., Lane and Dave would’ve been endgame. TikToker @tarallew says the one truth of Gilmore Girls is not that “Dean sucks,” but that “it should’ve been Dave.” Fans were robbed, but so was Lane of her true love and happiness.
The TikTok, which has nearly 29,000 likes, is filled with comments agreeing. As one user puts it: “Even if Dave had to leave there could’ve been ANYONE better than Zack.” Instead, it felt like after Brody left the series, the writers got lazy, looked around the room, and just pushed Lane toward her other bandmate. When it came to Lane and Zack, there was always a romantic spark missing. As one fan quips, “If he doesn’t stay up and read the entire Bible in one night for you, he’s not the one!”
The invisible string was there between Lane and Dave from the start. Lane fell for him immediately because he was an even bigger music nerd than her, who geeked out over audio quality. She was so enamored during their first meeting that she accidentally said “I love you.” While Zack could also be categorized as a music nerd, he seemed to be more into getting girls at shows than discussing a band’s sound at length. Even on Lane and Zack’s first date, they just watched the Talking Heads documentary, Stop Making Sense, which is something they did the night before as roommates. Zack didn’t go above and beyond to make their date special, and he even expected to get lucky — which Lane quickly shot down.
Ultimately, Zack meant well and was a sweet guy, but when you have someone like Dave Rygalski, it’s kind of like going from a Michelin star meal to the closest fast food joint. Their relationship wasn’t as fulfilling. While they worked as friends, it felt like the writers had to force these two to stay together as a couple by getting Lane knocked up.
Lane Deserved Better Than Rory
Lane also needed a better BFF to turn to when she had stuff going on. Throughout the series, Rory is always too wrapped up in her own world to ever really be there for Lane. TikToker @lunerthed0g was almost left speechless trying to put into words all the ways the show “did Lane wrong.” When Lane had a crush on a boy in the band and accidentally touched his hair, Rory was nowhere to be found. Also, Lane’s hair dye disaster in Season 3 turned into being all about Rory picking a fight with Jess’ girlfriend, Shane.
In a rant against Rory, TikToker @ebunfloww brings up how Rory dropped Lane as a friend when she found out she became a cheerleader in Season 2. Rory’s “hipster higher than thou” attitude meant more to her than supporting her friend, who only joined the team because her BFF left her all alone for a new school. But fans see what Rory’s missing. “Lane kim from gilmore girls is my dream bestie,” one fan tweeted. “She just be subtly droppin the best music references like it’s nothin and she’s so real for that.”
If you need a good cry, there are several sad fan edits of Lane on TikTok with fans realizing she just needed someone to talk to who would listen. Lane deserved much more character development, but it always felt like she was an afterthought. Even seeing Lane work at Luke’s Diner was a bit disappointing. While her comedic chemistry with Luke and Caesar was on point, they could’ve have given her a more suitable job at Sophie’s Music store or a fictional record label in Connecticut.
Especially as one of the few Asian representatives I got to see on television growing up, I wanted Hep Alien to become a huge success, Lane and Dave to marry, and for her to finally get the freedom from Stars Hollow she always seemed to want. Perhaps Lane was happy where she ended up, but unlike Rory, I have to actually stick up for my girl.